The 2018 regular season is at its midway point, but Jackson County’s football teams aren’t slowing down any time soon.
Owls prepare for Stars
Seymour stunned Floyd Central, scoring twice in the final six minutes of the game to come away with a 27-22 win Friday at Bulleit Stadium.
Owls quarterback Brendan Smith rolled around the right end for the go-ahead touchdown with 12 seconds left to propel the Owls to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in Hoosier Hills Conference play.
[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]
The Owls ran 62 total plays to the Highlanders’ 48 and had 19 first downs to Floyd’s 11.
Nathan O’Mara rushed for 267 yards and three touchdowns on a school-record 42 carries — topping his mark of 41 from the Jeffersonville game — against the Highlanders.
On the season, O’Mara has 929 rushing yards on 144 carries. According to maxpreps.com, O’Mara ranks third in the state for yards, including second in Class 5A. He currently has the most touches of any back in the country, according to maxpreps.com.
Smith had 10 carries for 32 yards and a touchdown and was 5-for-10 through the air for 54 yards with two interceptions.
Defensively, Justice Perry led the Owls with 15 tackles (six solo), and Ethan Corwin had 14 (three solo).
The Owls, who currently sit at third in the HHC, are off to their best start since the 2002 season.
This week, Seymour travels to Bedford North Lawrence (3-1, 2-0 HHC).
The Stars are coming off of a last-second, 41-40 win over New Albany.
BNL runs its offense through three-year starting QB McCall Ray. The senior leads the team with 285 rushing yards on 52 carries with seven TDs and has gone 45-for-71 through the air (63.4 percent) for 749 yards (187.3 average) and nine passing TDs to go along with five interceptions.
Senior Drew Shoufler is Ray’s No. 1 target, boasting 25 receptions for 467 yards and six TDs.
“For the most part, they have their entire offense back from last year,” Seymour coach Mike Kelly said. “Ray is a great quarterback, a very smart player. He’s much like what Alan Perry was to us. They have some good slot backs, and their fullback is a big, physical player.
“It is going to be important that we are responsible on defense. Part of what they do offensively is that it could be really effective against defenses that aren’t disciplined. (Shoufler) does a nice job of getting down the field for them. We need to make sure we do a nice job on him in the passing game. They are a very explosive offense.”
The BNL defense has run a 4-4 cover-3.
On defense, junior defensive back Justice Woods leads the team with 47 total tackles and one interception. The Stars have three total interceptions and one fumble recovery this season.
“They like to bring outside pressure,” Kelly said. “They are big and physical. I think coach (Steve) Weber has done a great job of getting them in the weight room. I think this is a team that has bought into the process of getting stronger. You can see it on both the offensive and defensive lines, and their linebackers are strong, as well. It is important we do our part.”
BNL is averaging 37.8 points per game this year but has given up 33.8 on average. The Stars have wins over the Bulldogs, Jeffersonville and Bloomington North. Their sole loss is to Class 5A No. 2 Martinsville.
Braves ready for next test
Class 3A No. 5 Brownstown Central faces its biggest Mid-Southern Conference test of 2018 on Friday night.
Since 2013, just one MSC team has beaten the Braves in the regular season: North Harrison.
The last time the teams met, the Cougars scored the first points of the game, the last points before half and the final points in regulation.
On its final drive, North Harrison ate up 10 minutes of clock before sealing a 17-14 victory with a field goal. The Cougars also beat the Braves in 2015.
The Braves (4-0, 4-0 MSC) are the only team still undefeated in MSC play. The Cougars (3-1, 3-1 MSC) fell 34-22 to Charlestown (3-1, 3-1 MSC) last week, an opponent that the Braves routed 50-13 in Week 2.
“Two of the last three years, they have beat us. There is a pride factor,” Braves coach Reed May said. “We need to be prepared to go down and play them. I think the kids are excited.”
Brownstown blasted Salem 48-13 on Friday.
Hayden Kinsler finished with 212 passing yards on 8-for-11 throwing, while the Braves also had 244 rushing yards.
The Cougars’ offense is much of the same this season: They pound the ball and look to dominate the line of scrimmage.
“They are still doing the same offense,” May said. “Their line isn’t quite as big. They graduated quite a few linemen. They do have an all-state running back returning. They are still doing their basic scheme just like they are defensively. Coach (Mark) Williamson does a nice job. If you have a system you’re going to do, you stick with it year in and year out.”
That Class 3A All-State back is Jaylen Peake, who has 557 rushing yards (139.3 average) on 82 carries with six touchdowns through four games. The 5-9, 195-pound back is joined by fellow senior Jake Harley in the backfield. He has 296 yards on 32 carries and six TDs. Eleven different players have run the ball so far this season.
Cougars junior QB Jarrett Fenn is 8-for-17 through the air with 177 yards and three passing touchdowns thus far into the campaign.
On defense, Coleman Biddle, the Cougars’ senior middle linebacker, is averaging 11 tackles per game and has 43 total tackles (36 solo).
North Harrison has forced a lot of turnovers. They currently have six interceptions and five fumble recoveries.
While the Braves are in the driver’s seat for the MSC title, they aren’t treating this week any differently.
“This week isn’t much different. Next week (against Seymour), we treat it more like a sectional game,” May said. “This is a big game, though. We can win out and win the conference.”
Trinity Lutheran coming off unexpected bye week
Trinity Lutheran is still searching for the first win of the season and will face Lighthouse East of Indianapolis at home Friday evening.
The Cougars are coming off of a week of rest, as their game against Indianapolis Shortridge was canceled last week due to weather.
Week 5 gives the Cougars a chance for that first win and redemption from their last game, a 31-7 loss to South Decatur in Week 3.
Coach Mike Wilson said much of the preparation for Shortridge will carry over for this week’s matchup against Lighthouse East.
“They actually run some of the same formations as Shortridge, so that helped when we were putting the game plan in,” he said.
His top priority for the Cougars this week is winning the turnover battle, which would position the team better to have more looks at scoring.
Winning that battle may be a challenge for the Cougars, Wilson said, because Lighthouse East has had an effective defense in some recent games.
“They scored two defensive touchdowns in the game I saw,” he said. “They have really good team speed.”
From an offensive standpoint, Wilson said he would like to see the team put together a strong rushing performance to give the team a balanced approach and control the clock.
Running the ball effectively may be the key to Friday’s matchup.
“If we can run the ball well this week, then this could be a good week for us,” he said.
Defensively, Wilson would like to see the team attack the ball and square up well on tackling.
After missing last week’s game, the team is ready for the next challenge as it searches for that first win, he said.
“Having the week off made our kids more hungry to get back at it this Friday,” Wilson said. “We’ve had a really good week of practice so far.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Catch the Owls” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
What: Seymour (3-1, 2-1 HHC) at Bedford North Lawrence (3-1, 2-0 HHC)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: BNL Stadium
Radio: 92.7 Nash Icon
Last outing: Seymour def. Floyd Central 27-22, BNL def. New Albany 41-40
Most recent meeting: Seymour won 21-17 on Sept. 15, 2017
Series past 30 years: Seymour 18-13
[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Catch the Braves” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
What: Brownstown Central (4-0, 4-0 MSC) at North Harrison (3-1, 3-1 MSC)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: North Harrison
Radio: 96.3 WJAA
Last outing: Brownstown def. Salem 48-13, Charlestown def. North Harrison 34-22
Most recent meeting: North Harrison won 17-14 on Sept. 15, 2017
Series past 30 years: Brownstown 25-5
[sc:pullout-text-end][sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Catch the Cougars” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
What: Lighthouse East (2-1) at Trinity Lutheran (0-3)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Last outing: Lighthouse East def. Jasonville Community 20-0, South Decatur def. Trinity Lutheran 31-7
Most recent meeting: No meetings